Author Topic: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita  (Read 6249 times)

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Offline Angie_H

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A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« on: September 23, 2004, 11:10:03 AM »
Has anyone read A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita, the Uncrowned Last Empress of Russia by Michael John Sullivan? I saw it at the library and checked it out. I am only in the first few chapters but the book is starting to get on my nerves. Not the story itself. The author comes across like he is trying to paint Ducky in this "oh so perfect light", to put it frankly it's like he's sucking up to her.  :P No bias what so ever, no objective view. At least in The Fate of The Romanovs I read about how Alexei could be bratty at times. I am glad I got it from the library and didn't buy it
Angie
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Angie_H »

elisa_1872

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2004, 02:14:41 PM »
Hi Angie!

I looked at this book also in my library :)) I too got the same impression of Ducky that the author was trying to portray. I was very disappointed in general, as it seemed very one-sided, and unbalanced. (However i've not read it all the way through). It was also very sad to see there was so little on the daughter Elisabeth+, really very few details indeed which was very wrong, considering how important this dear child was to both parents. There could also have been more photographs...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by elisa_1872 »

Offline Jane

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2004, 02:54:08 PM »
Angie, you are not alone.

I have read that particular Sullivan bio of Victoria Melita twice now (I own the Van der Kiste version), and each time I read "A Fatal Passion" I felt that it had a very sycophantic (the best word I can think of to describe it) tone.  I agree with you that there seems to be a lack of objectivity.  It is clear that Sullivan admired "Ducky" a great deal, but my personal preference is to see a writer take a more balanced and objective view of his or her subject, especially when the subject is a "mere" human full of good traits as well as bad.  

Jane
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Jane »

Offline tea_rose

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2004, 03:53:46 PM »
  I have this book-just because I tend to leap upon any autobio or bio about 19th century Royalty. But-I concur with the others-I thought the writing was purple prose at its most developed. It made it difficult to take anything in it seriously-though I am sure that research was done.

I started to skim fairly soon-and haven't dipped back into it-to be frank. The insistance on the sterling beauty and goodnesss of Ducky was overstressed-to say the least. There was a good bit of overly dramatic hinting and nudge-nudge too, as I remember. I think the portrait that Marie of Romania gives of her sister in her own autobio is so much better, balanced, and affectionate.

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2006, 10:24:36 AM »
I bumped this thread up because I agree completely with the other posters.  It is almost as if the author was "in love" with Ducky.

I only got just so far and put it away for a day when I am into torturing myself by finishing a book I don't like (like in college for a reading course.  I took Moderen European Literature one semester and had to read six books in three and half months that I had no interest in while trying to keep up with every other course and all the reading that had to be done for them)

No one could be as perfect as the author claims Ducky to have been.  She was just an ordinary social climber.  She wanted what her sister had and was given Ernst.  When that fell apart she went for the higher role of Grand Duchess of Russia.  The parts that say she and Kyrill worked tirelessly to improve the relations bewteen the Russian Royal family and the rest of the aristocrats and the Russian people is just plain "bull".

The author makes her sound like the eternal "peacemaker" and the exact right replacement for Alix.

She probably loved Kyrill, but in all other things, I think she was a "brown noser".

Offline Margarita Markovna

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2006, 12:38:27 PM »
I haven't read this one. How does it compare to the van der Kiste one? I liked that one a lot.

Offline Marlene

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2006, 09:41:06 AM »
Quote
I haven't read this one. How does it compare to the van der Kiste one? I liked that one a lot.


There really is nothing new in A Fatal Passion., although the author relied heavily on van der Kiste.   One problem is the lack of access to private papers, etc., but Ducky's paper trail is limited.  For another, the author repeated many of the mistakes in John's book.
Lastly,  the author didn't even know that Ducky and Kirill's remains had been removed from Coburg several years earlier, as both were reburied in St. Petersburg.  Both books are seriously flawed.
Author of Queen Victoria's Descendants,
& publisher of Royal Book News.
Visit my blog, Royal Musings  http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/

Offline Ally Kumari

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2015, 04:13:55 AM »
First of all: if only all biographies were written with such love! But, unfortunately, at the same time I have say: If only our love for historical characters did not put the blinds over our eyes!

A Fatal Passion is a work of love, that provides many a detail, but at the same time tries with all its might to paint the person of Grand Duchess Victoria Fyodorovna and her husband in the best colours possible, in spite of their many obvious shortcomings. While every negative quote by Ernst of Hesse, Empress Alexandra or anyone, really, gets called on its bias, everything stated by Kyril, Victoria and their admirers is taken into account on face value. The author presents Victoria in a way that anyone without proper knowledge of history would believe she was a center piece of all royal life in Europe before the first world war, when in fact, she was just a footnote. There are contraditions too: first the author write Victoria was hugely popular during her visit to the USA in the 1920s, but on the next page he admits nobody really cared for her presence. What to believe, then? Every action taken by Ducky and Kyril is being justified and glorified, no matter how questionable it was. And every single page doesn´t let you forget that Ducky was “astoundingly beautiful”. The book gives quite a few nice details about character and life of the Grand Duchess (I refuse to call her “Empress”), but should be read with caution.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2016, 04:55:19 AM »
I haven't read this book, but certainly won't go looking for it.

In any event, I would not call Victoria Melita beautiful. She was a bit chinless (as were a lot of Queen Victoria's descendants) and had terrible teeth! (Not having good teeth myself, I tend to notice people's teeth.)

Ann